A phase II, single arm multicenter study of low-dose rituximab for refractory mixed cryoglobulinemia secondary to hepatitis C virus infection


Eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV) by antiviral therapy is the treatment of choice for mixed cryoglobulinemia secondary to this infection, but many patients fail to achieve sustained viral responses and need second-line treatment. Several studies have demonstrated that the infusion of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab is highly effective for refractory mixid cryoglobulinemia, with a clinical response in approximately 80% of patients, although the relapse rate is high. Virtually all published studies employed a rituximab dosage of 375mg/m (2) given four times, a schedule used for treating non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Based on a prior pilot study, we disigned a phase II single-arm two-stage study (EUDRACT n. 2008-000086-38) to evaluate the efficacy of a lower dosage of rituximab, 250mg/m(2) given twice, for refractory mixed cryoglobulinemia. We present here the preliminary results in the first 27 patients enrolled. The overall response rate in 24 evaluable patients was 79% and the mean time to relapse was 6.5 months, similar to the 6.7 months reported in studies with high-dose rituximab. Side effects were comparable to those seen in patients treated with high dose. Increase of HCV viral load, reported in some high-dose studies, was not observed in our patients. Low-dose rituximab may provide a more cost/effective and possibly safer alternative fro treating refractory HCV-associated mixed cryoglobulinemia

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Archivio Istituzionale della Ricerca - Università degli Studi di Pavia

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